TRENTON – North Jersey locales close to New York dominate the list of New Jersey municipalities that saw their populations decline most between the 2020 Census and mid-2021.

All of the top 20 are in four counties – including seven in Hudson County.

The U.S. Census Bureau makes annual estimates of the population of each city and town, representing their estimated count as of July 1 of each year. These aren’t actual head counts but estimates based on the number of new housing units and other factors.

The COVID-19 pandemic spurred the changes, between a disproportionate number of deaths in urban areas and people relocating – perhaps temporarily, time will tell – when able to work from home.

Here are the 25 municipalities where the populations dropped by the largest number of residents in those 15 months, according to the estimates.

NJ towns that people are fleeing the most — 25 to 11

24 (tie). Woodbridge Township, Middlesex County: Down 399 residents to 103,212

24 (tie). East Brunswick, Middlesex County: Down 399 residents to 49,285

23. Trenton, Mercer County: Down 400 residents to 90,457

22. Nutley, Essex County: Down 432 residents to 29,786

21. Hamilton, Mercer County: Down 443 residents to 91,605

20. Guttenberg, Hudson County: Down 487 residents to 11,502

19. Orange, Essex County: Down 511 residents to 34,002

18. West New York, Hudson County: Down 556 residents to 52,242

17. Belleville, Essex County: Down 560 residents to 37,774

16. Wayne, Passaic County: Down 634 residents to 54,306

15. West Orange, Essex County: Down 651 residents to 48,257

14. East Orange, Essex County: Down 822 residents to 68,903

13. Passaic, Passaic County: Down 833 residents to 69,633

12. Clifton, Passaic County: Down 855 residents to 89,367

11. Irvington, Essex County: Down 896 residents to 60,403

Moving van with cardboard box and chairs by house
Getty Images/Purestock
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NJ towns that people are fleeing the most — Top 10

10. Secaucus, Hudson County

Down 944 residents to 21,295

Secaucus (Google Maps)
Secaucus (Google Maps)
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9. Kearny, Hudson County

Down 1,795 residents to 40,370

Kearny (Google Maps)
Kearny (Google Maps)
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8. Paterson, Passaic County

Down 1,880 residents to 157,794

Paterson (Google Maps)
Paterson (Google Maps)
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7. Elizabeth, Union County

Down 1,909 residents to 135,407

Elizabeth (Google Maps)
Elizabeth (Google Maps)
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6. Hoboken, Hudson County

Down 1,985 residents to 58,690

Hoboken (Google Maps)
Hoboken (Google Maps)
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5. Bayonne city, Hudson County

Down 2,344 residents to 69,211

Bayonne (Google Maps)
Bayonne (Google Maps)
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4. North Bergen, Hudson County

Down 2,749 residents to 60,612

North Bergen (Google Maps)
North Bergen (Google Maps)
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3. Union City, Hudson County

Down 2,874 residents to 65,638

Union City (Google Maps)
Union City (Google Maps)
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2. Newark, Essex County

Down 3,656 residents to 307,220

Newark (Google Maps)
Newark (Google Maps)
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1. Jersey City, Hudson County

Down 8,485 residents to 283,927

Jersey City (Google Maps)
Jersey City (Google Maps)
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Biggest percentage losses in population

Finally, running the math another way, here is the countdown of the top 11 municipalities in terms of percentage loss of population from April 2020 to June 2021. We’d have done the top 10, but the town at the top of the chart is atypical – both incredibly small and, as of January 2022, no longer in existence.

11. Jersey City, Hudson County: Down 2.9% to 283,927

10. Essex Fells, Essex County: Down 2.9% to 2,182

9. Hoboken, Hudson County: Down 3.3% to 58,690

8. Bayonne, Hudson County: Down 3.3% to 69,211

7. Guttenberg, Hudson County: Down 4.1% to 11,502

6. Union City, Hudson County: Down 4.2% to 65,538

5. Secaucus, Hudson County: Down 4.2% to 21,295

4. Kearny, Hudson County: Down 4.3% to 40,370

3. East Newark, Hudson County: Down 4.3% to 2,477

2. North Bergen, Hudson County: Down 4.3% to 60,612

1. Pine Valley, Camden County: Down 35% to 13 (and now, merged into Pine Hill)

Michael Symons is the Statehouse bureau chief for New Jersey 101.5. You can reach him at michael.symons@townsquaremedia.com

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2021 NJ property taxes: See how your town compares

Find your municipality in this alphabetical list to see how its average property tax bill for 2021 compares to others. You can also see how much the average bill changed from 2020. For an interactive map version, click here. And for the full analysis by New Jersey 101.5, read this story.

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